Ukraine using Turkish drones in the region could be a “complete game-changer,” said prominent American political scientist, political economist and writer Francis Fukuyama.
Writing on Twitter, Fukuyama argued that “this is why Moscow seems so preoccupied with this issue.”
Ukraine recently employed a Turkish-made unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV), namely Bayraktar TB2, to destroy a howitzer used by pro-Russian separatists in Donbas.
The introduction of the drone is a potential game changer in the yearslong conflict after Turkish drones were used by Azerbaijan last year to overpower Armenia's army in Nagorno-Karabakh – another frozen post-Soviet conflict.
The Kremlin said last month that its fears about Turkey's decision to sell strike drones to Ukraine were being realized and that the Turkish drones risked destabilizing the situation in eastern Ukraine.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov echoed the Kremlin’s concerns, saying Russia was investigating reports that Ukraine used the Turkish drone.
Russian forces annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine in February 2014, with President Vladimir Putin formally dividing the region into two separate federal subjects of the Russian Federation the following month.
Turkey, a NATO member, has criticized Moscow's annexation of Crimea and voiced support for Ukraine's territorial integrity. However, the United States and United Nations General Assembly view the annexation as illegal as well.
Fighting between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian separatists in Donbas has killed more than 13,000 people since 2014, according to the U.N.
The region is one of the several sources of friction between Russia and Ukraine./DS